February 10, 2013 GMT
Ending the African Adventure

The place I stayed near Augrabies Falls was part of a grape farm where they had built a ski lake and some nice accommodations.

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No matter where I go and the amazing things I see it is always the people I meet along the way that makes travel worthwhile. This is Willeman van Zyl, he and his wife Esme had the cabin next to mine.

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Sometimes you just need to go down the dirt road to see where it goes

From there I headed back to the east heading down the back roads whenever possible. Lots of small towns with character throughout the region. Back in Johannesburg, I checked on the tires I had ordered and made arrangements for the shipping.

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Getting off the main road you can find the really good places, had peri peri chicken livers here for lunch. A1 place.

There are some really great rides north of Nelspruit and through Zululand so I headed that way. Dodging the rain I ended up in St. Lucia on the east coast. Heavy rain was in the forecast so I signed up for a safari into Hluhluwe National Park thinking it was better to ride in the back of a truck with a cover than riding all day on the bike in the rain. I had rode up to the gate of Hluhluwe park the day before with the hope that I could get into a lodge or camp ground on the motorcycle but was turned away.

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Side trip into the timber land

The safari truck picked me up at the guest house at 4:00 AM with expected return about 1:00 PM. Only two others on the tour, a lady and her daughter from London. On entering the part and crossing a long bridge the water was within 18 inches of going over, guide was concerned not knowing what the rain was like upstream and we would need to cross that bridge on the way out.
It was not too far in that we stopped at an overlook and could see the river had came up dramatically. Guide called in and bridge was underwater and we would need to wait till it went down to cross.

We had a really good lunch in the pouring rain. The ladies from London were to catch a flight out of Durban, (3 hours south of St. Lucia), and were very concerned about delay. So after a few calls to a third member of their group that had not came on the tour we set out to go the back route out of the park and meet up about half way to Durban. Had a great time traveling the back roads making it back to St. Lucia at 5:30.

We saw very little wild life on the tour, I think due to heavy rain and lots of feed available. I am very glad that I had decided to go as we did see three animals that we could not find last year. Wild Dogs are rare to spot but we came upon a pack of 14, see pictures. The pack was being followed by a Hyena another I had not seen in the wild. Then when we were almost out of the park’s back gate we came on a Cheetah. The only one I had been looking for that was never found was the Black Rhino, so maybe I will need to return some day.

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River at flood stage plus sum

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The first wild dog
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The wild dog pack
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Hyena
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Elly getting dinner
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Lunch in the rain, good company and food
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Cheetah, really thought she should get up for a better picture but could not talk anyone into delivering the message.
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Had to stop and take a picture of the sign that said not to stop.
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I rode into Swaziland and tried to find an American working there but just got lost.
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I did the canopy tour in Swaziland park. There were ten of these cable runs across the canyon and one swinging bridge.
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Another run up into the timber to see what was there
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Timber operations
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Entry to camp ground was flooded
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I found a back way into camp ground and was the only one other than the guard in the whole place.
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Sign you will not see at home
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Some rugged country and good views

Well that is it for the African Adventure, (at least for now). 22.5 hours in the air and I was home. Now going through withdrawal and realigning to the time zone.


Posted by Robert Thode at 07:56 PM GMT
 
 

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